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Ed Mitchell’s Que – CLOSED

Posted by DID 14 Jul 2014 16 Comments

During the Bulls fan fest this past weekend, we stopped into Ed Mitchell’s much talked about and long anticipated Que. Ed Mitchell is BBQ royalty and his new restaurant features his famous whole-hog, pit-cooked barbecue in addition to some nods to modern tastes like BBQ tempeh and pork rind crusted brie.

The atmosphere, honestly, like most restaurants around ATC, feels like a chain restaurant. Even the seemingly cast iron pans in which the sides are served are disappointingly just enamel.

Que has a full bar including a well-curated draught beer selection (including the rarely seen Pork Slap from upstate New York’s Butternuts Beer & Ale brewery and Durham’s own Bull City Cider Works cider) and house-made fruit moonshine infusions.

We opted for a classic pulled pork plate with two sides and a classic wedge salad. We chose black eyed peas and collards as our sides. The pulled pork was good – large hunks of smokey meat. I wasn’t a huge fan of the western sauce, but the vinegary eastern style did the job.  The collards were smokey, sweet and porky, just like I like them. The black eyed peas were helped by a large dash of Texas Pete, decent  but in no way memorable.

Que is a good choice when you’re heading to a Bulls game and with Only Burger opening up next door, American Tobacco may be improving it’s culinary offerings.

359 Blackwell Street
Durham,NC 27701


  • Div said:

    I’ve gone twice now and haven’t been too thrilled with this place. Terrible atmosphere that, you’re right, is like a chain restaurant, we weren’t that blown away by the food, and it’s very expensive, even more so than the Pit. Service seems OK–all the servers seem a bit green and unsure of themselves, but not bad.

    The barbecue itself is good, although I wished they seasoned it more with vinegar and spice rather than let you do it yourself (my philosophy is that it should taste awesome when it’s served, and not need sauce). The sides have all been decent (although my greens had a lot of grit the first visit), and the hush puppies are fine. Better pork and sides than the Pit all around.

    The real problem is price–on Sunday, a plate of barbecue was $16, sandwiches were $10–prices have gone up quite a bit from what they have posted on their website, and they seem to have already raised prices since opening. I expect to be blown away by the food for that price, when really, Backyard, Allen & Son, and HIllsborough have better barbecue and sides for significantly cheaper, and the atmosphere is really nothing worth paying for. They seem to be going for a bland place for business lunches, out of towners, and DPAC attendees rather than a great restaurant for locals in downtown Durham. I guess that’s good for long-term business in that location, but I probably won’t be back.


  • AuditDurham said:

    I’ll say the same thing I’ve said about The Pit.

    I’d rather go to Smithfield’s Chicken and BBQ and get a family meal with a pint of BBQ, 2 sides, hushpuppies, and some fried chicken for $20 and feed my entire family than spend $20 on one plate at these “fancy” BBQ restaurants.

    Growing up in Eastern NC with King’s, B’s, Ellis, Wilber’s and many a fire dept. fund raiser, it is beyond me why people would pay so much for a plate of Q or a BBQ sandwich.


  • ERDavi82 said:

    Even though I didn’t imagine it possible, Que is even worse than The Pit or even (gag) The Que Shack. Horrible space, horrible prices, pork that’s worse than what Tyler’s serves just across the street. Colossal letdown


    Div replies on July 16th, 2014 at 7:56 pm:

    Hate for Q Shack?! I’ve never heard such a thing! It’s not NC BBQ, but it’s good!


    Snap replies on September 10th, 2014 at 4:04 pm:

    Q Shack has great ribs, decent brisket. I agree with you about everything else. Won’t be going back to Ed’s.


  • DGM said:

    Ive enjoyed Que twice now…My only complaint is the brisket was a bit dry, but everything else was stellar.For anyone to say its bad is plain nuts!

    One does not go to the Q shack for anything but brisket, and ribs. The pulled pork leaves a bit to be desired.


    tarheelJ replies on July 17th, 2014 at 11:49 am:

    I on the brisket and ribs. I also like their jalepeno deviled eggs.


  • tarheelJ said:

    I “agree”


  • ERDavi82 said:

    First off apologies to any Q Shack fans out there. While I definitely don’t enjoy the food there, I’ve not been since 2007 so I’ve got no authority to judge. My bad.

    As to Que
    1. The brisket my wife ordered was literally so fatty that the kitchen’s first offering was rejected by the waitress before it ever hit the table because it looked so fatty. The second attempt was better but still over 1/2 of the serving was pure fat.

    2. As to the pork, I got the chopped and another dining companion got the pulled. Both were absolutely tasteless, gristle-heavy and even greasier than the brisket. Much worse than the stuff Ed was making at the NYC BBQ Block Party the two years I attended when I was in New York.

    If Que would have been some new start-up job a la The Pig in Chapel Hill or some big corporate chain (Cheesecake Factory’s BBQ is actually not terrible), then I wouldn’t have been so let down. But it’s Ed Mitchell, a pillar of the NC BBQ community, and its his new place after being allegedly hosed by the folks at The Pit. Definitely different standards and personally totally disappointing.


  • H. Lowe said:

    Hmmm, I have to give a dissenting opinion. I really liked everything I had at EMQ…pulled pork, sauces, sides, everything. I thought it was delicious and compared quite favorably to many of the other BBQ joints in Durham.

    The only thing I agree with in the preceding reviews is that the atmosphere is fairly chain-like.


  • DCriswell said:

    The pulled pork was quite good (pretty sure I ordered whole hog but got pulled pork, but I didn’t want to send it back). Mac & cheese was also good (better than The Pit) and collards were excellent.

    WAY too pricey though. Final bill almost $20 for lunch. For that amount a biscuit or a basket of hushpuppies would have been nice. As others have observed, there’s enough good BBQ elsewhere in Durham that I won’t be back — unless someone else is treating :)


  • Eryk Pruitt said:

    Here is a great interview with Ed and Ryan Mitchell on Durham’s Lowdown Show. https://vimeo.com/103878721


  • ERDavis82 said:

    Went back to Que for the first time in 7 months or so. Was New Year’s Day and my wife and I ended up there when everything else in downtown Durham but Dame’s was closed (and it was packed).

    Got served and got our drinks in less than five minutes. It was around 1:30 and the place was pretty much empty. We ordered an appetizer of pimento cheese dip and chopped pork + brisket as mains.

    At 1:50 it had been 15 minutes and we got plates for the cheese dip and refills on tea and soda. At 2:15 still no food but the only other table we could see in the place got their food (and they had been seated at 2 or so, at least 20 minutes after us). No sign of the waitress or any employee at that point.

    At 2:25 the waitress peeked around the corner of the row of booths and then ducked around the corner. I had to get up and literally try to flag her down.

    At 2:30 a cook appeared out of nowhere to say that everything is prepared to order and that our orders had been mixed up.

    At 2:31 we left.

    On what planet does allegedly “slow-cooked” food get prepared to order? Even though the food we had back in the summer was completely lackluster, I was excited about trying it again but I will never know. Horrible service, horrible experience, ended up eating at Tyler’s almost two hours after we sat down at Que. Terrible, terrible, terrible place.


  • tarheelJ said:

    Just announced that the ATC location is closing. Due to not being able to cook more than one hog at a time.


  • grade schools said:

    grade schools…

  • Ian Leaf said:

    Ian Leaf…

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